Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hong Kong, A Year Later

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post on this blog about my big upcoming life change in moving to Hong Kong and what that meant for Page 43. Rereading that post, I haven’t exactly followed through with what I planned to do.

Last June, I wrote, “…you can expect me to start writing about what kind of role music plays in Hong Kong society.” The closest I’ve gotten to doing that is a brief post in my other blog about two concerts I attended back in October—one of which was an opera premiere, the other being a Hong Kong Philharmonic performance. But sadly, my grand hopes to chronicle my musical experiences have fallen to the wayside. Part of this is because I’m quite busy. But there are other reasons as well.

Hong Kong supposedly has a local music scene, but I haven’t really found it yet. While Seattle has dozens of venues showcasing exciting local talent on any day of the week with press advertising it, Hong Kong doesn’t operate like that. The downside of being an 'East meets West' metropolis is that, as the great Gregory Youtz warned me back at PLU, most of the performances you hear about here are imported and not a product of the Hong Kong or even Chinese people. Over the last year, I’ve attended a handful of concerts but at none of them did I see a truly local artist. The best concert I’ve seen here was Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Orchestra, which is about as international as it gets. And the closest I got to seeing local talent was at the Clockenflap Music Festival, but a number of factors made it tough to really enjoy that event. Mostly being freezing and exhausted.

But I haven’t given up. The music journalist inside of me has not died. Another reason I haven’t written about my HK musical experiences is my own laziness. If I really pushed myself, I could start digging deeper through various magazines and websites for more concerts to attend, local artists or not. I could buck up and make it to a Cantonese Opera performance, which is historically HK’s most significant unique musical genre (I refuse to accept that Cantopop is unique or significant). Too bad Cantonese Opera sounds like wailing cats to me. And honestly, I should have written something here about the Silk Road concert back in March, considering it left me speechless with wonder, but I never got around to it.

One of my big mid-year resolutions is to increase the amount of music in my life. After almost a year here, my musical nourishment has consisted of a few songs written, a few concerts attended, and some serious ukulele chops thanks to having a uke to wail on during downtime at work. But put that all together and it’s not enough for someone who needs music like a boat needs water.

To my credit, I have continued to wear out the buttons of my iPod with focused listening of new music I’ve discovered from the Western world. I’ve also written some of my “Best of…” posts that I was planning to stop a year ago. But let’s hope that it’s less than a year before I next document a Hong Kong musical experience here on Page 43

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